Does Autumn make you SAD?

A blog by Mandy

As we start to see the leaves change colour, and as we step outside there is that distinctive earthy smell of Autumn, we know that it means the days are going to get shorter. I love Autumn, I love to see the spectacular colours, the crisp mornings and for me it’s a time to start letting go, just as the trees start to let go of their leaves.

Unfortunately, Autumn quite literally has a dark side as we start to wake up to darkness - the days are shorter as the sun go goes down earlier and earlier until the clocks finally go back. Each year that passes, I have to mentally, emotionally and physically prepare myself for the dark mornings and evenings ahead. I am hugely affected by the Autumn and Winter months and can feel down about the weather - it can make me feel like curling up into a tiny ball and preparing for hibernation. Sound familiar? Of course, now the medical professional have termed it Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD which can cause low mood, lethargy and in some cases depression.  If you’re experiencing SAD it may be more than just feeling low, it can affect your appetite, your sleep patterns and concentration.

Treatments for SAD vary depending on the person, but taking 10 minutes out of the day for yourself is a good way for anyone to de-stress. Not only does exercise improve your energy levels and mood, but studies have shown people with SAD who exercise are more likely to feel better about the darker nights and winter blues.

For me, I find my yoga practice really helps me to improve my focus and mood. By practicing simple postures, breathing methods and being mindful help me to feel more vibrant and lift my mood leaving me feeling more energised.

Yoga postures (asanas) improve circulation and the breathing oxygenates the brain and stabilises the nervous system which simply de-stresses the body. During every class I teach and in my own personal practice, I do a few rounds of sun salutations moving to the rhythm of my breath. Sun salutations awaken muscles, provide fluid to the joints stretch out the front and back of the body and improve circulation and lymphatic fluids.

Breathing more consciously improves focus and clarity and promotes ‘feel good’ hormones leaving us feeling energised and uplifted. If you’re short on time, the good news is just 10 minutes daily doing a few rounds of sun salutations, moving with your breath will be a real beneficial way to help you navigate through the darker colder, months of the year. It really works for me! With a little more exercise, yoga, healthy eating and plenty of sleep, let’s see if we can turn this Autumn and Winter into Happy, not SAD!